Richard Ketchum, chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on Monday addressed concerns from brokers and advisors over whether their test scores would be revealed on BrokerCheck after the site’s recent revamp.
Test performance “is not the type of information [FINRA] is interested in disclosing,” Ketchum said at FINRA’s annual conference.
Right now, Ketchum told the nearly 1,000 attendees of the conference in Washington, nearly “90% of investors make decisions about the investment professionals without first using BrokerCheck. We want to change that by raising awareness of the tool and providing the kind of information that helps investors make good decisions.”
FINRA announced on May 17 its latest round of updates to BrokerCheck to help users more easily access broker-dealer and investment advisor registration information.
Several of the changes implemented by FINRA address recommendations made in a January 2011 study by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Those latest improvements now give investors:
- centralized access to licensing and registration information on current and former brokers and brokerage firms, and investment advisor representatives and investment advisor firms;
- the ability to search for and locate a financial services professional based on main office and branch locations, and the ability to conduct ZIP code radius searches (in increments of 5, 15 or 25 miles); and
- access to expanded educational content available on BrokerCheck, including new help icons that clarify commonly referenced terms throughout the system and within BrokerCheck reports.
Ketchum asked member firms on Monday to join FINRA and “collectively focus on how we can use BrokerCheck to create value for investors.” Ketchum reviewed the changes FINRA made to BrokerCheck two years ago, which included adding disclosures of criminal convictions, civil injunctions, customer complaints and records on former brokers whose registrations have terminated within the last 10 years. For the next phase of changes to BrokerCheck, he said, FINRA is “interested in ideas for expanding the range of information we disclose in BrokerCheck, updating the way in which that information is presented, and increasing investor awareness of BrokerCheck.”